Aquarium terms :
Lights with a very yellow color spectrum. Due to their color, these lights are not recommended for use in a reef aquarium.
A device used to heat the water in an aquarium. Heaters vary in size and style including drop-in types and submersiblesump types. They feature an adjustable thermostat to maintain the water at a constant temperature. The size and wattage of a heater required will depend on the water volume of a tank.
Chemical elements such as cadmium, copper, lead and zinc. Heavy metals dissolve readily in water and are toxic to marine life. Copper is one of the most common heavy metal found in water due to copper pipes in older homes.
An animal that eats plants. Herbivores such as snails and tangs are an important part of a reef tank because they help keepalgae under control.
An aquarium set up separately from a main or display system used to house new livestock. Also known as a quarantine tank, it is used to prevent spreading diseases into an established aquarium.
A device used to measure the specific gravity of seawater. The most common types consist of a clear chamber with a floating needle.
An electrically operated propeller that causes water to flow through a pump or filter.
An animal with no backbone or skeleton. This group of animals includes mollusks, crustaceans, worms, and corals. A large percentage of animals on coral reefs are invertebrates.
A trace element found in seawater necessary in small quantities for some reef invertebrates, particularly corals and clams.
A saturated solution of calcium hydroxide (Ca(OH)2) and water. Kalkwasser can be dripped into the aquarium or mixed with top off water to help maintain calcium, pH, and alkalinity levels. It is an extremely potent substance and should be used with caution. An overdose can raise alkalinity levels as high as 14 and can be harmful to animals.
The first stage of development after hatching for many fish and invertebrates.
A line of perforated scales along the side of a fish that is connected to a specialized organ used to sense vibrations in the water.
An acronym used by aquarium hobbyists that stands for Local Fish Store.
A type of food for aquarium fish that is sold while still alive. Some predatory fish such as lionfish will only eat live food. Live food for the aquarium can include brine shrimp, copepods, small shrimp, and other small invertebrates.
Rocks removed from the ocean that usually have a variety of sea life attached to them, including nitrifying bacteria, sponges, algae, coralline algae, worms, and starfish. Live rock is commonly used in reef aquariums because it contains bacteria that can help filter the water through nitrification.
Sand removed from the ocean that contains nitrifying bacteria and other sea organisms. Live sand is used in reef aquariums because it contains bacteria that can help filter the water through nitrification.
An aquarium that keeps marine plants and animals in a contained environment. Also known as a saltwater aquarium, a marine aquarium is usually set up to reproduce a marine environment such as a coral reef.
An elemental metal that plays a critical role in the chemical and biological processes in the marine aquarium. Magnesium is important for the the skeleton forming process of stony corals and other invertebrates.
A water filtration method that uses filtering medium to remove particles from the water. Cannister filters, undergravel filters, and wet/dry prefilters are examples of mechanical filters.
Small microscopic types of algae such as the green algae and hair algae common in marine aquariums.
A type of light bulb that uses special gases to give off a very bright white light. They give off a spectrum of light very similar to sunlight and are highly recommended for reef aquariums. Metal Halide bulbs require a special ballast unit for operation.
A type of small marine aquarium that is typically less than 20 gallons (76 liters). Nano reefs are difficult to keep because of the small water volume. They are only recommended for experienced marine aquarium hobbyists.
NO3 the final product in the nitrogen cycle. It is not toxic, but can be dangerous at high levels. Nitrate is created by the oxidation of nitrite by nitrobacter bacteria. In a reef tank, nitrate levels should be kept below 10 ppm.
Naturally occurring bacteria that change ammonia or ammonium into nitrite or change nitrite into nitrate as part of thenitrogen cycle. Nitrifying bacteria are a key component of a biological filter for an aquarium.
NO2 the second product in the nitrogen cycle. Nitrite is a highly toxic substance that is produced by the oxidation of ofammonia by nitrosomonas bacteria. It is easily removed with biological filtration.
The bacteria in a biological filtration system that converts nitrite into nitrate.
The nitrogen cycle describes how wastes are broken down by bacteria in the aquarium. Animal waste breaks down into toxic ammonia (NH3). The ammonia is oxidized by nitrosomonas bacteria into nitrite (NO2), another highly toxic substance. Another bacteria called nitrobacter oxidizes the nitrite into nitrate (NO3), a much less toxic substance. Some systems are capable of taking the process one step further, by using anaerobic bacteria to convert the nitrate into harmless nitrogen gas.
The bacteria in a biological filtration system that converts ammonia into nitrite.
A device used to continuously replace evaporated water and maintain a constant specific gravity.
The process by which a liquid passes from an area of low concentration through a semi-permeable membrane to an area of high concentration.
An adverse reaction caused when the salinity of an animal's environment changes drastically.
Oxygen Reduction Potential (ORP)
This is simply a measurement of the water's ability to cleanse itself.
Ozone, or O3, is a very reactive form of oxygen which is commonly used in conjunction with a protein skimmer to enhance skimming and kill bacteria. Ozone must be used carefully as too much can be toxic to fish and invertebrates.
A device that uses high voltage electricity to produce ozone.
An organism that feeds on the tissues of another organism. Parasites are one of the major causes of disease in aquarium fishes.
A pair of fins on a fish located directly behind the gills.
A pair of fins on a fish located directly below the gills. Not all marine fishes have these.
A measure of the concentration of hydrogen and hydroxide ions. The pH of a solution measures how acidic or alkaline it is. pH values range from 0 to 14. A neutral solution has a pH of 7. A pH less than 7 indicates an acidic solution while a pH greater than 7 indicates an alkaline solution. pH can be regulated in the aquarium by using buffering materials. pH and alkalinity can also be maintained by the use of kalkwasser.
A nutrient that can case uncontrolled growth of algae in the aquarium. It can also be toxic in high concentrations and must be kept to a minimum in coral reef aquariums. Phosphate can be easily removed by a number of commercially availablefilter media.
The length of time each day that the aquarium lights remain on.
The process by which carbon dioxide, water, and certain inorganic salts are converted into carbohydrates by green plants, algae, and certain bacteria, using energy from the sun and chlorophyll.
Tiny microscopic plants found drifting in seawater. Phytoplankton represent the bottom of the food chain in the ocean
A generic term used to refer to both phytoplankton and zooplankton.
A small, submersible pump commonly used inside an aquarium to provide additional water movement. Several powerheads can be used in conjunction with a controller unit to simulate natural wave actions.
An external filtering device that uses bubbles to remove nitrogen rich proteins, fatty acids, and other organic wastes. This is a required piece of equipment for maintaining good water quality in a reef tank.
Amateur and novice and regular reader may have encountered difficulty in understanding some of the terminology:
A type of florescent light with a very blue spectrum. It is the primary color of light in the ocean below 30 feet and is required by corals and other reef creatures which contain photosynthetic algae.
A form of carbon specially formulated for filtration. Carbon is good for removing a large number of toxins and other unwanted substances from aquarium water. it is especially useful for clearing or "polishing" cloudy water. One problem with carbon is that is can release phosphate into the water, which stimulated algae growth.
A pump used to aerate water by pumping bubbles through it. Air pumps are usually used in conjunction with an airstone to create bubbles in the water.
Underwater growths of plant-like organisms. Some algae may resemble plants but they are actually not plants at all. Algae ranges in type from tall stalks of kelp to fuzzy growths of green hair algae to encrusting growths of coralline algae.
A term used by aquarists to refer to the ph value of water. Water with a ph higher than 7 is said to be an alkaline.
The capacity to buffer against pH drops. The greater the alkalinity, the more stable the pH will be and the less likely that there will pH swings. Alkalinity can be raised by adding a carbonate buffer material. Alkalinity can also be maintained through the use of substance called kalkwasser.
NH3, a toxic substance that builds up in the aquarium. It is released by fish through their gills and as a result of waste buildup. Ammonia is the first step in the nitrogen cycle, and is removed by bacterial action where it is transformed intonitrite, or can be removed by mechanical filtration.
The craft of arranging aquatic plants, as well as rocks, stones, cavework, or driftwood, in an aesthetically pleasing manner within an aquarium. The goal of aquascaping is to create a realistic, natural-looking habitat for aquarium animals.
A calcium-containing mineral usually found in the form of rock, gravel, or sand. Aragonite is a popular substrate for marine and saltwater aquariums.
Bacteria are microscopic, single-celled organisms. In the aquarium hobby, beneficial bacteria can be used to filter the water by breaking down and consuming waste products.
A power source required for fluorescent and metal halide lights. They are highly specialized and each type of light requires its own type of ballast.
A method of biological filtration for a marine aquarium that uses only live rock and a powerful protein skimmer.
A method of natural filtration for an aquarium that uses bacteria to break down waste substances by means of the nitrogen cycle. These include undergravel filters, trickle filters, and sponge filters.
A tiny species of shrimp growing to only about 1/4 inch. Also known as "Sea Monkeys", they are sold as a source of fish food. Brine shrimp make a delicious snack for reef fishes, but are not very nutritious and should not be used as the sole food source.
A mineral that is the major building block of corals and other calcareous organisms. In a reef tank, calcium levels should be maintained between 380 and 480 mg/l. Calcium levels can be maintained through regular water changes, by using calcium additives, or through the use of kalkwasser.
A filtration system that consists of an external cannister that contains various mechanical filtration media. Water is pumped out of the tank, forced through the cannister, and then returned to the tank.
A substance used for filtration in an aquarium. See activated carbon.
A simple device used in air tubing to prevent water from running backwards down an air tube. A check valve is used with an air pump to prevent the water from flowing back down the tube and potentially flooding the room.
A method of filtration that uses chemical processes to clean the water. Examples of this type include activated carbon andprotein skimmers.
A piece of equipment used to cool down the water in an aquarium. Chillers are available in different types and sizes, including one that hooks up in-line with the water flow of the tank and one that drops into the sump. They all feature a thermostat for maintaining a constant temperature. Larger tanks require larger chiller units.
A substance used in municipal water supplies to kill bacteria. Chlorine is toxic to fish and invertebrates and must be removed from water before it can be added to the tank. A number of products are available for this purpose.
A metal used in the form of copper sulphate to cure diseases and parasite infestations in the aquarium. Copper is highly toxic to marine invertebrates and should NEVER be used in a reef tank.
Any one of a group of marine invertebrates in the class Anthozoa of phylum Cnidaria. Corals typically live in compact colonies of many identical individual polyps. Some corals have soft bodies while others secrete calcium carbonate to form a hard skeleton.
A diverse underwater ecosystem anchored by large calcium carbonate structures secreted by hard corals. Coral reefs provide a home for at least 25% of all marine species including colorful fish and invertebrates.
An encrusting form of algae that forms calcareous crusts like coral. Coralline algae is very colorful, occurring in bright purple, pink and red colors. It is very desirable in the reef tank, and can be made to grow on rocks and other hard surfaces by maintaining optimum pH, alkalinity, and calcium levels.
A white or light-colored medium composed of fine crushed coral and shells and sometimes aragonite. The shells are made primarily of limestone and calcite.
A group of hard-shelled invertebrates that includes crabs and shrimps.
An organism that commonly forms brown films on aquarium glass or rocks. Diatoms form their shells from silicate, and can be controlled to some degree by preventing the addition of this compound through the use of purified water.
A device for filtering water that uses several ion exchange resins to purify and remove impurities from the water.
The amount of oxygen currently dissolved in a body of water. Marine animals require dissolved oxygen in order to survive. Dissolved oxygen concentrations can be determined with test kit or by measuring electronically with an oxygen meter.
A type of pure water, also known as deionized or RO water, that has been cleaned and purified to remove at least 99.5% of all impurities. Distilled water is preferred for maintaining a healthy aquarium environment.
The fin located on top of a fish. Most fish species have only one dorsal fin, but some will have two, one behind the other. Many species of clownfish will have two dorsal fins.
A device used to deliver small amounts of chemicals and trace elements into the aquarium water. It is recommended thatkalkwasser be dosed in this manner.
Any filter not kept inside the aquarium, but connected with hoses or tubes. Canister filters are an example of an external filter.
Any device used to remove unwanted particles or compounds from aquarium water. Filters come in a variety of styles, but most fall into three main categories: biological, chemical, or mechanical.
An organism that feeds by filtering out nutrients such as plankton, bacteria, or detritus from the seawater.
Any substance used in water filtration systems to remove organic wastes and impurities from the water.
A common bacterial disease of fish kept in low quality water conditions. As the disease progresses, the area of the damaged fin becomes opaque and white then is eaten away by the bacteria.
Any member of a group of water-dwelling, mostly cold-blooded vertebrates with gills. There are over 29,000 species of fish, which makes them the most diverse group of vertebrates in the world.
A type of food for aquarium fish that has been processed into thin layers or flakes which float on the surface of the water.
A method of biological filtration where water is forced through a cylinder containing small beads. Nitrifying bacteria growing on the beads removes waste materials from the water.
General Hardness (GH)
A measure of the overall concentration of calcium, magnesium, and other ions. It is measured in degrees, with one degree equal to about 17.9mg/l (17.86mg/l). The harder the water, the higher the GH number.
An aquarium set up separately from a main or display system used to house new livestock. Also known as a hospital tank, it is used to prevent spreading diseases into an established aquarium.
An isolated container, usually located near the sump, that performs a specific task such as increasing calcium or oxygen in the water.
A saltwater marine aquarium that attempts to recreate a natural coral reef environment by using natural live rock, coral, fish, and invertebrates that are naturally found on coral reefs.
Reverse Osmosis (RO)
A process for filtering water for use in an aquarium. This method works by forcing water under pressure through a special membrane. Reverse Osmosis (R/O) can produce very pure water, but it is a slow process and can only filter small amounts at a time.
A measure of the amount of salt in seawater, measured in parts per thousand (ppt). Natural seawater has a salinity of about 35 ppt.
A transparent, rubbery adhesive used in aquariums to bond glass and plug leaks. It can also be used in reef tanks to attach rock and coral formations.
The ratio of density of a given liquid to that of pure water. Specific gravity is used to measure the salinity of seawater as compared to distilled water. Distilled water has a specific gravity of 1.000 while natural seawater has a S.G. of about 1.025.
A type of filter that provides both mechanical and biological filtration. As water passes through the sponge, particles are removed. Bacteria growing on the surface of the sponge also remove toxic substances from the water.
A trace element found in seawater that is required for corals and creatures with calcareous skeletons to grow. Strontium levels can be maintained through regular water changes and by the use of strontium additives.
The low area of water in an aquarium system. The sump is the reservoir below the dry section of a wet/dry or trickle filter. The water level in the sump varies with evaporation.
A length of tube that uses gravity to move water from one location to another. Also, the organs used by some mollusks to inhale and exhale water.
Elements that occur naturally in small quantities in seawater. These are required for survival by many reef organisms, and include calcium, iodine, strontium, molybdenum, lithium, and barium.
A filtration system where water is dripped over some medium that is exposed to the air. The air helps to enhance thenitrification process. The filter medium usually consists of small plastic balls or strips of plastic.
Ultraviolet (UV) Sterilizer
A device that sterilizes water by passing it through a glass tube around an ultraviolet light. UV sterilizers can help remove bacteria, parasites, and algae spores from aquarium water. However, they can also remove some beneficial organisms from reef tanks.
A filtration system that provides both mechanical and biological filtration. It consists of a plate that is placed underneath the gravel. Water is pulled down through the gravel where it is filtered and carried back up into the aquarium.
Any animal that has a backbone and a skeleton. In the ocean, vertebrates include both jawless fish and jawed vertebrates, which includes the cartilaginous fish (sharks and rays) and bony fish.
Very High Output (VHO) lights are specially designed fluorescent lights that give off a much higher intensity light than regular fluorescent bulbs. This makes them much more effective as light sources for reef systems, since many corals require strong light. As with all fluorescent lights, VHOs require a ballast unit for operation.
The process of replacing a portion of aquarium water with a fresh saltwater mix. It is recommended that 20 to 25 percent of the water be changed each month in a reef tank.
A biological filtration system that is exposed to the air to aid nitrification. This system typically consists of a large box that is placed underneath the aquarium. Water passes down into the filter over a filtration medium where bacteria remove toxins. The water is then pumped back up into the tank. A sponge or other mechanical filtration medium may also be used in a wet/dry filter.
Tiny microscopic animals found drifting in seawater. This includes the larval stages of many fishes and invertebrates.
Tiny plants that live in a symbiotic relationship with certain corals, clams, and some sponges. They receive nutrients from their host and provide a food source in return. It is the zooxanthellae that are responsible for the brilliant green, yellow, and blue colors in corals and clams.
The Terms here is shortlisted to know more about other terms please visit :